What is the Highest Possible Score in Bowling With or Without Strikes?

bowling with strikes or without strikes

The bowling scoring system can seem a bit complicated if you don’t bowl that often. Beginners or newbies always get confused about how to calculate their total score without the help of the scoreboard. Are you someone who is new to this game and still hasn’t learned how to score a strike or a spare? Well, then you must be wondering what is the highest possible score in bowling with or without strikes to have an idea how much strikes can impact your overall score as well as your average. So before you learn how to knock down all the pins in a single shot, let’s learn what’s the best score you can expect without any strike or spare.

What is the highest bowling score Without a strike?

A perfect game, in other words, scoring 300 seems difficult if you’re a seasonal or average bowler. So don’t you think, setting a more realistic and obtainable goal is a sensible thing to do? What if we tell you, you can still get a great score without bowling any strike? Well, instead of rolling strikes on every frame, you can still maximize your score without bowling any strike.

As we know, the second-highest bowling score is a spare. So if you can bowl all spares for the entire game, your final score will be 190 which is the highest possible score without any strikes. To score 190, you will have to bowl a spare on every frame of the game. But it is not like any other spare. To get 190, you will have to roll your spares in a specific way.

On each frame, you will have to knock down 9 pins first and then the remaining 1 pin  On the very last frame of the game, you will have to knock down 9 pins first, and then last 1 pin, and then knock down 9 pins again to finally finish your game.

Other spares where you knock down 8 pins first and then the remaining 2 pins after that- those spares won’t let you have 190 as a final score. Remember, when players bowl a spare, they are rewarded a 10 and then the number of pins that were knocked down on the next roll. So if you don’t follow the mentioned strategy, and knock down 8 pins on your ball roll, you’ll score 18, not 19, and without that, you can’t reach the maximum possible score (190).

What is the highest bowling score without a strike or a spare?

So now we know the maximum score one can possibly reach without bowling any strike. Therefore, let’s take a look at some of the other scenarios in bowling. For example, the highest possible score without a strike or a spare.

Let’s say, you can score neither strikes nor spares. So how can you still secure a maximum score? The highest score in such scenarios in a single game is 90. So how can you do that?

To accomplish the highest score with any strike or spare, you will have to score a 9 on each frame of the game. And we know that there are 10 frames in a game. So, (9 x 10) gives you a final score of 90. But are there any specific bowling pin numbers that you need to knock down in each frame? The answer is no, no specific pattern is important to attain 90 without any strike or spare. Just knock down any number of pins on each roll, but make sure they add up to 9 on each frame. So, for example, on your first roll if you knock down 6 pins, make sure to do 3 pins on the next roll.

Highest Possible Score In Bowling
Strike! A strike in bowling is knocking down all 10 pins at once.

What is the highest bowling score with all strikes?

Some of us already know what is the general highest possible score in bowling. It’s 300, also known as the perfect game. Bowling a perfect game indicates that a player has thrown strikes on every single frame while playing. Scoring all strikes consecutively, meaning bowling 300 points is very much rare and almost impossible.

What is the rarest score in bowling and Why is it Rare?

The rarest score in the history of bowling is 292. It is extremely rare and very difficult to pick off exactly 2 pins with a bowling ball. For a 292 score, a bowler has to roll 11 consecutive strikes and after that a two on the first or on the last ball. When 10 of the pins are standing, picking up 2 pins is absolutely the toughest. Plus, the 11 strikes in a row are also next to impossible.

Video Of A Rare 292 Bowling Score

An amateur bowler scores the elusive 292 in this fabulous video!

Rare video of a rare bowling score of 292


As you can see, you can successfully have a higher score only if you can score some strikes and spares. Without these two, you can’t maximize your average and final score. They really help you rack up your points. With that said, it is very hard to consistently roll strikes, and it’s even more difficult to have consecutive spares following a certain pattern. So don’t worry much if you’re just having fun. Just knowing how bowling scores work and learning techniques to throw a bowling ball better are everything you need to know.


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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